Friday, May 29, 2009

Great literature and snacks

I am re-reading all the books that I have by Daniel Pinkwater and rediscovering why he is my favorite children's author: there is only a very little plot, and a whole lot of eating out.

Even better, the eating out happens mostly in odd, old-fashioned, pleasures-of-urban-decay establishments. The only way that these books could be better would be if the characters were always drinking egg creams instead of root beer. But I guess it's easier to suspend disbelief about multidimensional time travel and sentient earthworms than it would be to believe that you can get an egg cream outside of New York City.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

the pug mind

Rose is looking with great concern at a hopping, yodeling, remote-controlled lederhosen we just got from Archie McPhee. It makes quite a racket and is obviously unnatural and disturbing to pugs. But here's the funny thing: as soon as we had finished playing with it and taking pictures of them being disturbed by it, they expected us to give them cookies. Somehow it was clear to them that this was the kind of annoying experience that, if they put up with it, the humans would pay them for it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Everything old is new again

Today I went into Starbucks, and guess what I discovered is the latest beverage that they are pushing: Iced coffee. With milk.

I guess it's possible that there's a whole generation that doesn't realize that there is any other (and cheaper) cold coffee and dairy drink aside from a Frappuccino.

I am not only old enough to remember before Frappuccinos. I'm old enough that I remember one time in grad school, visiting the University of Connecticut, I asked my colleague where I could get an iced coffee and she looked at me like I was mad, like I was asking a small town to provide some fanciful big-city delight like, I don't know, a taxicab hailed on the street or a 24 hour store. Or like I had requested a unicorn sandwich.

So even if we can only afford simple iced coffees at the Starbucks on every streetcorner these days, it's still days of miracle and wonder to old farts like me.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The 21st Century

I just got yelled at for not updating my blog. By someone who could have just walked downstairs and talked to me, if he was so thirsty for a taste of my particular brand of entertainment. Well, it's nice that someone's reading.

Mostly the problem was that I didn't know what to post after that last one, but here's an aerial shot of a couple of smiling pugs to lighten the mood.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Pug with Found Object, in memory of Roscoe

Pug with Found Object, in memory of Roscoe
Originally uploaded by wombatarama

Roscoe, the best pug on the internet, who I have mentioned before, passed away yesterday. He was fourteen and though I never met him, it was obvious that he led the best life a pug can live. In the last few years there was nothing that was a bigger bright spot in my day than seeing a new picture of Roscoe.

Sometimes I hate the internet. There are enough things to be sad about without having your heart broken over a dog you never met. I guess that it is always better to have loved and lost, etc., even if long-distance and virtually. But that doesn't make it any easier to see him go.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I hate gardening

Last fall I pulled up a big clump of asters in my front yard because they have pretty little flowers on a big ugly plant that always gets diseased rotting foliage, thus giving an overall impression which is basically repulsive. I am no garden design expert, but I am pretty sure that "repulsive" is not the effect I am striving for, so they had to go.

I tossed them in a big plastic pot so I could easily carry them to the trash, but they got shoved behind a bush and forgotten. These half-rotted, bare-root plants spent all winter freezing and thawing in that empty pot. And now they are showing new green growth.

At the same time, I can point to at least three bare spots in the same bed where I lovingly planted and tended new plants last year and now there is nothing.

And I'm sure I'd be able to point to more, but mercifully, my project to label everything was thwarted by the guys we hired to clean up leaves, whose leafblowers uprooted nearly all my labels.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My dream

Today, Wombatarama's Hollywood correspondent reported that she had read a Pulitzer Prize winning novel, and hadn't liked it, but it had been useful for killing two flies.

See, that's why it's not enough to write articles and I will not rest until I get at least ONE of my damn books published. After so much time spent writing stuff that's only good for lining the birdcage, one longs to produce something lasting. Something that can at least be used to kill a fly or to prop up a table leg, you know?

Friday, May 8, 2009

other people's pugs

These are not my pugs. This is a picture that was taken for a recent column of mine about pug rescue. Awwwwww.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Curmudgeonly environmentalist

I hate the whole thing about taking reusable bags to the store. I'm sure it's just a way for stores to save money, and the environmental argument is just an excuse.

But I realized today that there is one bright side: It's revived the art of careful grocery-bag packing.

Maybe this only ever happened in big cities where many people carried groceries home by foot, but there used to be people who packed groceries into bags beautifully, like it was really their life's work. Maybe the difference is that for years now I've shopped at more suburban stores, but at these places it wasn't uncommon for them to toss only two items in one of those plastic bags and move on.

But today I had ONE reusable tote and slightly too many groceries, and by God if someone hadn't actually spent some time training that cashier to bag, I'll eat my tote.

Monday, May 4, 2009

when piglets flu

Can't find the source... but this is actually the second Pooh-themed swine flu cartoon I've seen. One more and it's a genre.